School Canteen Helps Refugee Children
Life in a refugee camp is neither shiny nor appealing, despite the tenacity and courage of some of the members of these communities who have dedicated their lives to supporting the efforts of the humanitarian organizations who provide them with community assistance.
This is the case of Agaichatou Hamadou Kina, a mother of five children from Gao in Mali. She found herself in the Tabareybarey refugee camp following the armed conflict in northern Mali.
Accepting that the camp has now become her prospective village, and that life must go on for the sake of her children and the entire community, Agaichatou has volunteered to prepare meals for 639 school children in a committee designed to restore the school canteen, funded by Non-Governmental Organiziations (NGOs).
In fact, all five of her children go to school in the Tabareybarey camp and the school canteen allows them to receive proper nutrition and continue their education.
Agaichatou is aware that the return to normality in the lives of her children and the help needed for them overcome the psychological distress and conflict from being displaced from their home can be achieved through education. The existence of this canteen comes as a relief to all of the parents who live in the camp.
The school feeding program, implemented by Plan, stimulates enrollment, ensures student attendance, and reduces drop-out and malnutrition rates.
The committee consists for four members and they are aided by other female volunteers who are in need. The voluntary commitment of these mothers is an encouraging gesture, which supports the efforts of NGOs who are implementing the educational program for their children. The canteen system is essential for the displaced families who have been plunged into total poverty by the armed conflict that has forced them to leave behind their homes and belongings.
This voluntary commitment of Agaichatou Hamadou Kina is a noble and salutary initiative as parents are the same everywhere; they want a better life for their children in the camp, and thanks to parental effort and the help of the NGOs, there is hope for better days.
However, the wishes of Agaichatou are that of a qualitative and quantitative improvement of the canteen and she hopes that Plan Niger will continue in this direction for the well-being of all children who are attending school.
Plan Niger continues to manage and coordinate operations in the Tabareybarey Camp which currently houses 9,189 refugees. In addition to a food supply, Plan is also ensuring that refugee families have access to receiving an education.